This interpretation of the Queen of Edward III belongs to a wonderful series of Ladies from English History that were among the first of Peggy Davies’ models produced by Rpyal Doulton after WWII.
She ruled at a time when chivalry and pageantry filled the English court. Her husband and son, the Black Prince were men of war. Their captives the Kings of France and of Scotland were treated according to their rank, valour and misfortune – something that was attributed to her influence!
That she is remembered for her gentleness and clemency is illustrated by the tale of her pleading for the lives of six citizens of Calais when the town fell.
The Royal Doulton series of Period Figures in English History was made up of six personalities and was available for a short period (1948-53) and are all considered rare today!
The sheer variety of early figures in Royal Doulton’s HN collection illustrates the lengths that were gone to, to appeal to early collectors as the company tried to discover a popular house style.
Title page of an early figure catalogue.
Of course by the time the Masquerade pair appeared in 1924, the great Leslie Harradine had already been supplying models to the Burslem art studios for a few years.
A burnished gold HN636 Masquerade.
During the early 20thC there was huge interest in masked and costume balls and the latter must have inspired this pairing and other Chelsea inspired figures from a bygone age in English china manufacturing.
Masquerade (female) HN 600.
‘Kissing’ Masqueraders HN 600 in china and HN 683 in earthenware.
Interestingly the two Doulton models’ bases fit so that the couple can kiss if the owner so wishes. They appear in this 1920’s figure catalogue titled Personalities and Porcelain along with a group of other early figures. Also of interest to note is that HN683 and HN 637 the last versions of each were actually made in earthenware rather than china like the other versions.
Masquerade HN 599 & 636.
Typical of Doulton’s studios they also experimented with this pair and a handful of other figures, producing examples in burnished gold with ivory face and hand details, imitating gold/bronze and Ivory figurative sculptures from the art nouveau era.
The Royal Doulton figure Newhaven Fishwife HN 1480 is like so many of their period street sellers and character figures, based closely on real life. The Scottish fishwives of Newhaven had a reputation for their beauty and industry. They were hard-bargainers though, and all the fishermen of the Firth of Forth in Edinburgh, Scotland, brought their catches to Newhaven for the fishwives to sell in Edinburgh city.
Just like the Doulton figure, the fishwives of Newhaven wore distinctive costumes of layers of colourfully striped petticoats with a muslin cap or other similar headdress, together with a scarf, the tassels of which you can make out in the picture and also around the neck of the figure itself. Their fish, including haddock and herring, were carried on their backs in creels, again just like the figure.
The Newhaven Fishwife although introduced in the 1930s, was not a Leslie Harradine figure, but a model by Harry Fenton, more famously associated today with Doulton’s Character Jugs. She is recorded as having been produced between 1931-37, however, her scarcity reinforces the reality that many figures were made to order rather than being readily available.
St George HN 2067.
England’s patron saint is celebrated annually with St George’s Day on the 23rd April. Symbolic references to him and the story of his slaying a dragon can be found throughout Bristish life: his cross forms the national flag of England, also it features within the union flag of the United Kingdom and is also contained with other flags containing the Union Flag such as New Zealand’s and Australia’s.
England’s patron saint can be traced back through history to before the Norman Conquest of 1066 and it is recorded that by the 14thC St George had been declared England’s patron saint and protector of Royalty!
Doulton advert for their Festival of Britain stand 1951.
Doulton’s first figure model of St George (above) introduced as HN 385 was by Stanley Thorogood and was based on an earlier study by the artist from 1915.
St George by Peggy Davies 1950-85.
Doulton have produced the figures above as well as featured him in other popular lines produced including their Bunnykins range.
Bunnykins St George.
Granny’s Heritage HN 1873.
Everyone looks forward to that time in our lives when things slow down a little and we imagine that we will have time to enjoy the finer things in life! This perhaps explains collectors’ fascination with what we might term the ‘older generation’.
The very rare Granny HN 1804.
From the 1920’s Royal Doulton have been producing older characters as part of their famous HN range of figures in recognition of this basic sentiment.
A Gentlewoman HN 1632.
Whether it be the famous impoverished Old Balloon Seller or 1930’s figures such as Darby and Joan, A Gentlewoman or Granny all of whom are portrayed in aged contentment knitting, enjoying some snuff, serving tea or out and about! All the things we imagine that we may have done generations before now.
Gaffer HN 2053.
Respect and affection appear to be the watchwords with these characters with names such as Grandma and Gaffer being used over time. The term Gaffer of course referring to a boss or older man.
Past Glory HN 2484.
This reverence for the older generation also explains figures such as Past Glory HN 2484, Takings Things Easy HN 2677 and Stitch in Time HN 2352.
Taking Things Easy HN 2677.
Displayed as part of a group of elder characters or among more typical figures, each tells a tale of its own and it is perhaps for this reason that even today we fill our homes with these gentle characters!
A Stitch in Time HN 2352.
Thanks to Seaway China for the use of their photos.
And finally a rare Kingsware teapot with Darby and Joan to illustrate that it isn’t just figures that feature older characters!
This rather quaint figure produced in the early 1920’s is another advertising figure, but this time it’s purpose is to advertise the once popular Illustrated London News magazine. It covered all topical issues and as well as political comment, satire and stories, it also included full page prints for its readers of modern pictures. It was originally a weekly broadsheet but it move to bi-annual until it ceased production after the millennium.
The Beefeeter is a warder of the Tower of London and not a Yeoman of the Guard as is often stated. The Warder Beefeeter served the Towers prisioners and to protect the Crown Jewels but today they act more as tourist guides.
This Doulton personification of this famous London character holds an actual copy of the Illustrated London News from May 14 1842 , whose print is actually readable. Examples without any text do exist but it is the original that is most eagerly sought after.
The twelve lady musicians who make up this elegant series were all modelled by the legendary Peggy Davies and the first figurine Cello was introduced in 1970 with the others progressively introduced from that year.
Cover of a booklet produced by Doulton to advertise the new Lady Musicians series.
Another first was that these figures were the first in 50 years to carry the name of their modeller to the base in recognition of Peggy’s massive contribution to the Doulton fame.
A contemporary Australian exhibition of Peggy’s independent work.
Each of these lady musicians were produced in a limited edition of 750 pieces and were produced in a matt finish, popular at the time. The idea behind the series being that over the years an 18th Century orchestra could be built up.
Typical of Peggy we can still recognise today the results of her painstaking research and technical expertise we associate with her work.
Lady Musicians HN 2795, 2798 & 2796.
Again typical of Peggy is that she decided to introduce her own figure The Leader to accompany this series under her own name to satisfy collectors’ requests. During the 18th Century it would have been more usual to have a leader rather than a conductor.